Today was a momentous day for me as a dad, because Gemma popped into the office for the first time since Sonny was born - leaving us to fend for ourselves. For an entire day! Here's how it went...
Sonny's all smiles and looks sleepy after his mum feeds him and heads out of the door. "This almost seems to easy," I think to myself. Then he lets rip in his pants in a massive way, causing his nappy to overflow. Time for a change of nappy and clothes. And he's crying already?!? This could be a long day...
There's building work taking place at our house, so I have four tradesman stomping through the downstairs spilling dust, paint and just about everything else they can get their hands on all over the floor. The dog's barking at them, the baby's screaming at them and I'm pretty sure I'm about to start crying too if this goes on much longer; but they assure me they'll be finished by 10am so there's light at the end of the tunnel...
The builders are gone, Sonny is still wide awake and the dog looks restless. Time for walkies! I load Sonny into his baby carrier, grab the dog's lead and head out the front door. As so often happens when I put Sonny in his carrier, he's asleep within seconds so I take the opportunity to enjoy a lovely walk with the dog. We stroll through the pretty market town of St Ives that we live in, down a section of the Ouse Valley Way known locally as the 'Thicket' path, then round an old golf course that nature began reclaiming around 8 years ago. With Sonny snoozing happily on my chest, the sun shining and the dog storming up and down the old fairways, I allow myself to believe I'm doing a great job.
Back home now and the baby's awake. And by awake I mean screaming his head off. He's been breastfed every day of his life so far, so today is his first time exclusively on bottles. His mum has expressed plenty of milk and stashed it in the fridge, so I crack open the first batch, grab a freshly sterilised bottle, warm the milk in a jug of hot water, then offer it to the boy. Sonny's either a quick learner, or incredibly greedy like me, because within 5 seconds he's in a trance and draining the entire contents of his bottle. Good lad!
I'm feeling incredibly organised. Sonny's asleep in his pram, his change bag is packed and ready, the dog is sleeping and content after a good walk, and I'm ready to head out of the door to take Gemma's place at the 'Baby Essentials' course she's been attending for the last few weeks with 10 local mums. Then there's a knock at the door and the site supervisor for our building work pokes his head into the hallway. He's here to sign off the work that's been done and collect payment. This laborious process takes over 30 minutes, wakes up Sonny and means I leave the house at 12.30pm with just 15 minutes to make the 30 minute walk to our class. I do it in 20 minutes, arriving in a sweaty, flustered mess with a screaming baby in my arms.
I get plenty of sympathetic looks from the other mums as I thrash about warming milk and feeding Sonny in the early stages of the class, but he soon settles down as I'm treated to the delights of learning baby first aid and CPR. Sonny happily smiles and chuckles his way through the whole class, behaving brilliantly and making me feel very proud. He might be a bit of a pain in the arse, but he is one awesome baby!
Sonny slept through every footstep of the walk home, but he's awake the second we step back through the door and already demanding my attention. If I hold him in my arms and stand or walk around the house, he's more than happy. But the second I sit down or put him down, he kicks off. I feed him again, and admittedly I'm starting to flag a bit at this stage. I've done over 2 hours of walking on a hot sunny day and it suddenly dawns on me I haven't eaten anything today. Not one single thing. I've been so busy I didn't even notice. I stick a steak pie in the oven that I'd bought in preparation the previous day from a local farm shop, then spend the next 45 minutes trying to get Sonny to sleep.
He isn't asleep, of course, but he's reasonably settled in his bouncy chair and allows me to eat my (incredibly tasty) steak pie, so long as I keep clicking my fingers and singing pop songs to him between mouthfuls. He looks tired and I know I'm tired, so I take him up to his room and plonk him down in his cot. He seems to love his new mobile that spins like a carousel and plays creepy old nursery rhymes, so I lay him on his back and watch him settle into a hypnotic state, staring with fascination at the rotating animals and making cute cooing noises. I realise this is my chance to finally relax. I grab the iPad, stick on an episode of Game of Thrones, then lie down next to his cot and indulge myself in a bit of blood, guts and mayhem. I feel a bit guilty when the C-Bomb gets dropped twice in around 30 seconds, but reassure myself that Sonny can't understand any of this at 10 weeks old. I hope...
Mum's home with a worried look on her face. She runs upstairs and finds us both flat on our backs in Sonny's room. He's still staring at his mobile, I'm lost in Game of Thrones. I attempt to give off the impression that it's all been very straightforward, but I'm not fooling anyone. Mercifully Gemma takes over and Sonny soon settles into his usual evening routine. He thrashes about a lot and generally makes a nuisance of himself until around 8pm, before we finally settle him down and send him off to sleep.
Sonny's asleep upstairs while we're sitting in the garden enjoying a well-earned glass of wine, listening to music and chatting about how much we love our son. He's hard work and we know our lives will never be the same again, but we're both in total agreement that everything has definitely changed for the better.
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